About the Vision2Action Symposium Sustainability Series:
See below for a summary of past events since April 2012, with the most recent event listed first.
The Vision2Action Symposium Series was begun in 2012 through a contract with Thurston County Solid Waste, part Thurston County Washington’s Public Works Department. The Vision2Action Series grew out of an earlier series of symposia organized by the Thurston Climate Action Team (www.thurstonclimateaction.org) in 2010, which covered a range of topics from energy and solid waste, to transportation and building codes.
Since then the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild (a regional non-profit with a local chapter) along with a wide range of partners and co-sponsors has organized and held seven (8) quarterly Symposiums on topics related to green building, energy efficiency and climate change. For a snapshot of the Symposium Series and its unique form of civic innovation, see our 3-minute introductory video.
- Sept 2015: Plugging into the Future: The Challenge & Opportunity of Residential Electric Vehicle Infrastructure
Located along the electrified I-5 corridor that runs from Vancouver, B.C. into California and drawing upon low-cost, low emission, regional hydropower, the Puget Sound region enjoys a uniquely favorable environment for the adoption and use of electric drive vehicles. Yet, the growing number of privately-owned electric vehicles will places new demands upon homebuilders being asked to provide for home-based charging infrastructure. On Sept. 17, 60 stakeholders from local and state government, public utilities, EV charging companies and enthusiasts met came together with single- and multi-family residential developers to discuss a balanced approach to making home-based EV charging infrastructure more available, with new code requirements, incentives, and market-based solutions under consideration.
- March 2015:
In Tacoma and Pierce County, and in the rainy Northwest, stormwater management regulations tie the health of our economy to the ecological health of streams, lakes and Puget Sound. In 2016, new Department of Ecology rules will be adopted by local jurisdictions, directing developers, builders and public works engineers to use low-impact development (LID) practices on most projects to treat and control stormwater runoff on-site. 125 leaders and stakeholders joined a strategic conversatin to explore the challenges and business opportunities presented by the shift to LID practices like rain gardens, bioretention, permeable pavement and green roofs.
In the rainy Northwest, stormwater management regulations tie the health of our economy to the ecological health of streams, lakes and Puget Sound. In 2016, new Department of Ecology rules will be adopted by local jurisdictions, directing developers, builders and public works engineers to use low-impact development (LID) practices on most projects to treat and control stormwater runoff on-site. 85 leaders and stakeholders joined a strategic conversatin to explore the challenges and business opportunities presented by the shift to LID practices like rain gardens, bioretention, permeable pavement and green roofs.
- February 2014: Healthy Energy Improvements for Rental Homes
More people are renting their homes than ever, and looking for homes that are affordable, energy efficient and healthy. This is a challenge if landlords want to invest in energy efficiency, but find it difficult to justify since renters’ utility savings don’t accrue to the investor. To tackle this split incentive a team of local stakeholders came
together to propose a market-based solution with more incentives for landlords and renters to make healthy, efficient homes more affordable. 95 people attended to hear the team’s “triple bottom line” strategy for healthy return on investment for efficiency. Thanks to our host the Thurston County Department of Health.
- December 2013: Subarea Planning – A Framework for New Civic Engagement
Regional and City plans put forth a bold vision to guide our region toward a prosperous, healthy future. Subarea planning takes it to the street — a framework for improved civic engagement with tools to work through divisive issues and implement great ideas. An informative and inspiring Keynote presentation, followed by a panel of experienced local planners and neighborhood leaders who shared inspiring local examples and new initiatives! They joined 55 other neighbors, environmental and community leaders in a lively discussion about the civic infrastructure we need to build a brighter future together.
80 participants at this Symposium discussed planning for high-density housing and mixed-use development in our Cities as a means of directing growth away from sensitive rural lands to protect the environment; while helping grow our economy to support a vibrant, prosperous, and resilient community into the future. Green Urbanism brings together the best strategies of smart growth, new urbanism, and green building / low-impact infrastructure in a way that creates livable, walkable transit friendly places. With both high-density corridors and distinct single-family neighborhoods, the vision is to provide a mix of housing choices, proximity to work, services and amenities such as parks and open space, and effective transportation options to meet the needs of a changing, growing population. Read the “Raw Meeting Notes” from this Symposium.
What would future development look like if being Carbon Neutral really mattered? For this Symposium 50 key leaders and stakeholders from business, government, and the community came to hear how the Architecture 2030 Challenge is transforming development in downtown in Seattle, on its way to becoming “the nation’s first carbon-neutral city.” The bold, strategic conversation before during and after this symposium led elected leaders to add “Become a carbon-neutral community by 2050” to the adopted goals of the Sustainable Thurston Plan. Read “Report to the Community” from this Symposium
- March 2013: Sustainable Urban Corridors – Bold Measures
More than 75 people convened to hear about a bold vision for livable, walkable urban corridors recommended for Tumwater, Lacey and Olympia, including Tumwater Brewery & Woodland Loop redevelopment, transforming strip malls to hip malls, and gentle densification for more housing choices. A dynamic panel was followed by a strategic conversation with private developers, neighbors and agencies on ways to help investments in mixed use sustainable communities pencil out for the common good. Read “Raw Meeting Notes” from this Symposium.
- October 2012: Green Building Valuation
The Green Valuation Symposium reported on a series of residential green building valuation roundtables conducted in 2011 in cities across Washington and Idaho. 40 participants took part in a strategic conversation with leaders from NW Multiple Listing Service, WA Association of Mortgage Professionals, WA Association of REALTORS and Appraisers’ Coalition of WA to take action to address identified needs. Since then NWMLS has adopted new green fields and is implementing an multi-faceted partnership to improve green valuation data and reporting.
- July 2012: International Green Construction Code
This Symposium reported to 45 code officials, elected officials and building industry leaders about the IgCC which was released by the ICC in March after 3 years of public hearings and input from stakeholders and interest groups. The IGCC is an overlay code that works with the existing codes, and allows each community to tailor standards to meet their local needs and conditions. Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero now sits on the State Building Codes Council, which in 2014 will consider whether to approve the IGCC for local adoption.
- March 2012: 2012 State Energy Strategy
For our first Vision2Action Symposium in this series, the Washington State Department of Commerce presented the newly released 2012 Washington State Energy Strategy, with 3 goals: Keep energy prices competitive, foster a clean energy economy and jobs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The WSU Energy Office and Washington Department of Transportation were there to reflect and suggest ways for local communities and jurisdictions to implement the plan locally.
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